Retaining your sanity after taking your toddler out for a grocery shopping trip! Sounds like wishful thinking, right? What if I were to tell you that it could turn into reality? As a mother, a small chore such as taking your toddler grocery shopping is also an eventful outing. It is no mean task, and can certainly turn into a nightmare if your toddler has a meltdown in the shopping aisle. Some amount of preparation and a lot of patience can help you tide through this action-packed trip with your toddler! Below, we’ve listed some interesting guidelines to make grocery shopping with your toddler relatively easy.
12 Helpful Tips When Taking Toddlers Grocery Shopping
- Plan your trip: Plan your grocery shopping trip according to your toddler’s sleep and food timings. A hungry and tired child is more likely to run out of patience and throw a tantrum while grocery shopping, than one that is well-fed and has napped well. However, with developmental changes setting in, your toddler could have inconsistent sleep and food times. Hence be prepared to leave either ahead of your scheduled time or later than that. Baby first!
- Give your child a ride: You definitely don’t want to push both, the pram or stroller and the shopping cart. Let your child ride on the shopping cart. Don’t forget to carry the child seat cart liner and a hand sanitizer along. Some supermarkets have colorful kid-friendly rides such as cars which can double as shopping carts for parents
- Pack some snacks or start with lunch in the deli: Needless to say, never forget to carry some munchies and candies for your toddler during your grocery shopping trip. You never know when the child in tow demands food and sweets. If possible carry your child’s favorite snack. This can help fill their tummy and keep them engrossed in munching to avoid all the other distractions near you. Alternatively, you could start your shopping journey with lunch in the deli. Buy a quick snack that your child likes. Either let your child finish it and proceed to the shopping section or let them eat as you shop
- Carry entertainment for the child: Never forget to carry either a picture book or a toy to keep your child entertained. Since their attention spans are short, they could soon get bored of all the riding around and looking at boring groceries. And you know well, what this boredom could result into! So be well-stocked with things that will keep the child busy and entertained
- Make a list, double-check it: Make a list of everything you need with their quantities, double-check it and go over it before you leave from home. This has a dual purpose – it saves time, and stops you from roaming around in the aisles aimlessly
- Buy the essentials first: A grocery store is a magical place for children as they see many colorful objects, and forbidden sugar-laden sweets and cereal! Once your little one sets their eyes on these feasts, there’s no escape from billing them. All these children-attracting items are usually placed near the accompaniments in the grocery store. So, buy all the essentials such as produce, milk, bread, eggs, and meat first. You can then look to buy other things such as jams, spreads, and other accompaniments. Avoid aisles that you know are trouble spots. Check-out in candy-free check-out aisles to avoid nagging and bickering
- Give your child a job to do: Children as young as toddlers feel motivated and happy when they are given some responsibilities, and can be of help to their elders. While shopping, you can ask your child to look for a specific red jar, or spot the oranges and apples, and hold some light-weight items such as chips and cookies
- Make this shopping trip a learning opportunity: You can help your child learn a thing or two by showing them different shapes of fruits and vegetables, pasta, bottles, and cans. Teach them the names of some fruits and vegetables, read out the price tags with expressions such as expensive and worth-the-value, their expiry dates, and sometimes the contents. Your shopping trip can turn into a fun learning experience with the numbers, alphabets, and adjectives
- Expect the unexpected: As mothers of toddlers, we are accustomed to giggles-now and outbursts-the next instant. So be prepared with a plan of action in the event of a tantrum. Make sure you buy everything you need early, if possible picking up the essentials placed in the perimeter of the store first. Be ready to bill your items as soon as possible and head out straight to your car, if the child has a meltdown
- Praise your child: Yes, you read that right! It is important to praise the child when they do something right. When they count the potatoes right, give them a pat on their back. When they spot a particular fruit, give them a smile. When they behave well, cuddle them and tell them how proud you are of them. Positive words work like a positive reinforcement. This way, the next time you visit the store, they will behave well
- Ignore the stares: When your children misbehave or throw a fit in a public place, you receive stares and snarls, and sometimes some mean words too. If your child makes noise or does have a meltdown while you are not done with your shopping, carry on. Ignore the tantrums and complete your grocery shopping as fast as possible. Also, ignore the stares and mean words. Tell yourself that those that are judging you at this point, either don’t have children or have forgotten their early years. Prioritize. Shop. Go home
- Stay Safe: Falls from the shopping carts, cart tipping-over, a toddler getting trapped by a cart, or being run over by a cart are something’s you should be aware of when taking a toddler along. Never let your little one stand up in the cart or ride on the front, back, or side of the cart. Kids should not push carts without being supervised by an adult
So remember the first few times you go grocery shopping with your toddler you may leave stressed out, and will end up with fewer groceries than you went in for. But always remember, this grocery shopping with a toddler is a skill that both of you are developing. So don’t be afraid to venture out to the grocery store… try and try again!